High School Softball: Sullivan, Pelowski sparkle, shut out Storm
In the final home game of the regular season for nine seniors, a pair of juniors boosted the Brainerd Warriors to victory.
Right-handers Jordyn Sullivan and Abby Pelowski combined to silence the Sauk Rapids Storm for a 1-0 victory Tuesday in a Central Lakes Conference game at Adamson Field. They combined to retire 19 of the last 20 Storm batters. Sauk Rapids managed only four baserunners all game.
Sullivan started and went five innings allowing two hits and two walks with six strikeouts. Pelowski relieved in the sixth and tossed two flawless innings with two strikeouts.
"I think this is the first 1-0 game I've ever been part of," Warriors coach Shane Jordan said, "so that was kind of fun. It was a little nerve-wracking, but it's fun to know we can win that way if we need to."
The Storm's only threat was in the first inning. They loaded the bases on singles by Chloe Stockinger and Sydney Plemel and a 2-out walk. Sullivan got a ground out to end the inning.
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Warriors 1, Sauk Rapids 0
- The key: Brainerd scored the game's only run on Lexi Roby's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth.
- Conference: Brd 9-2, SR 4-7
- Overall: Brd 14-5, SR 6-10
- Next: Brainerd at St. Cloud Apollo 5 p.m. Thursday, May 17.
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"Abby and Jordyn pitched great tonight," Jordan said. "Both of them are a little bit different pitcher, which was nice to mix them up and keep the other team off-balance.
"Jordyn felt really good. Partway through the game, the plan was to put Abby in but Jordyn said 'I would like to go one more. I feel real good.' Abby was supportive of her 100 percent.
"They support each other, they work hard together, they push each other. They like to laugh and have fun, too. They pitched really well. They complement each other really well."
Brainerd scored the game's only run in the bottom of the sixth. Kasia Kroll bunted for a hit, was wild pitched to second, was bunted to third by Emma Korhonen and scored on Lexi Roby's sacrifice fly to center.
Storm pitcher Samantha Patton was equally stringent against Brainerd. She allowed only three hits, including a triple by Elaina Christiansen. Patton walked none, struck out four and allowed only four Warrior baserunners.
"The credit for that goes to Sauk Rapids," Jordan said of his team's three hits. "They played well. Everything we hit they went and caught. They made the defensive plays. We could have helped ourselves out a little bit, hitting the ball on the ground maybe a little more.
"What I was most proud of is when we needed to we went station-to-station-to-station. They caught a fly ball, we tagged up, that's how you win the game."
Jadin Schiller is one of the seniors who were at home for the final time during the regular season. She said it was an emotional event.
"It was pretty hard being the last game that we have together," Schiller said. "A lot of tears were shed. Most of those tears were from reminiscing back on happy memories, bonding together, realizing that we've built friendships that will last us forever, that we love the game and that we love each other."
The Warriors improved to 9-5 in conference play, 14-5 overall, with one regular-season game remaining—Thursday, May 17, at St. Cloud Apollo. Schiller said her experience with the Warrior softball program has been "incredible."
"I've played for multiple years," she added. "I've been with a lot of the same girls. We've grown together with each other. We've made memories. It's been incredible seeing each other on the field, cheering each other on, being able to be part of a great program such as this one where we can make friends and have a great time playing softball."
Brainerd entered Tuesday's game with the third-best Quality Results Formula in Section 8-4A, trailing Elk River and Buffalo, both of whom have only lost twice. Buffalo is ranked second in Class 4A. If the Warriors are the No. 3 seed, they would host a first-round playoff game, which is tentatively set for Tuesday, May 22.
"It's a 6-team section," Jordan said. "No. 1 and 2 get byes. I think we'll be No. 3. Then we would end up hosting either Moorhead or St. Cloud Tech depending on how things fall."
Sauk Rapids 000 000 0—0 2 1
Brainerd 000 001 x—1 3 0
Sauk Rapids: Samantha Patton and Chloe Stockinger.
Brainerd: Jordyn Sullivan, Abby Pelowski (6) and Clare Ceynowa.
WP: Pelowski LP: Patton. 3B: B-Elaina Christiansen.